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Romare Bearden, American, (September 2, 1911–March 12, 1988)
Falling Star, 1980
Ink on paper
23 1/8 x 18 in. (58.74 x 45.72 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Lithography
Credit Line: Purchase, Scripps Collectors' Circle
Accession Number: 2013.3.54

Romare Bearden is among the preeminent artists of his generation. His powerful works represent the places where he lived and worked: the rural South; northern cities, principally Pittsburgh and New York's Harlem; and the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Religious subjects and ritual practices, jazz clubs and brothels, and history and literature are overlapping themes in his work. Throughout his career Bearden also made forays into abstraction, usually with musical associations.


The subject matter of many of Romare Bearden’s works—similar to numerous contemporary black artists—is socially informed, often with a focus on black experience in the United States. However, during the late 20thcentury, Bearden’s work was considered unique due to both his mastery of collage and to his reliance on literature, music, and history for inspiration.
Within the flat plane of this piece, we see two windows side by side; one depicts day, the other night. This dichotomy may suggest a duality of consciousness—the idyllic, desirable, and personal experience of blackness coupled with its social reality. Falling Star straddles the line between an imagined identity and lived experience.
Laura Woods, SCR ’18

Signed in pencil, lower right hand corner
Edition number in pencil, lower left hand corner

ink on paper (lithography)

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